Gain insights into the medical trainee specialty selection process

medical recruitment

I am often asked to give advice to medical trainees about how to best prepare for annual medical recruitment and the specialty selection process.

In my career, I have sat in on upwards of a thousand interviews and seen several more thousand CVs and applications. Like all things in medicine, preparation and practice can really help to boost your performance.

The process of obtaining a specialty position is becoming more and more competitive. In 2015 in NSW alone there were 45,000 applications for around 3,600 positions!

That is why a colleague and I hosted the very first AdvanceMed: Medical Trainee Career and Interview Preparation Workshop in Sydney on 8th July, 2017. We had a great line-up of speakers, all experts in the process in their own way. From trainees recently selected to posts to senior medical practitioners who advise junior staff and/or participate in selection panels.

The process of obtaining a specialty post is becoming more and more competitive. In 2015 in NSW alone there were 45,000 applications for around 3,600 positions!

In 2018, we are holding two workshops in June: one in Brisbane on 9 June 2018, and the other one in Sydney on 16 June 2018.

It will be great to see as many medical trainees attend as possible. But for those who cannot here are a few tips.  They come from a recent presentation I made on this subject to the NSW JMO Forum:

3 ways to miss out on a medical recruitment interview

  1. Don't have a Plan B. Getting into medicine in the first place requires a range of skills and capabilities. Whilst confidence is definitely one of these.  Try not to let your confidence cloud your impression of your chances of getting into your job of first choice. Have a back-up in case it doesn't go according to plan. Whether that is another specialty, taking an SRMO year or locuming.
  2. Don't organise your referees. It may sound strange but on more than one occasion I have discovered that a trainee has put down a person as a potential referee without ever checking with them in the first place. That's a definite no no. Also bear in mind that the folks you are asking to attest for you are likely getting several requests so keep them updated and send them your CV to make it a bit easier on them when the time comes for a reference.
  3. Leave your application to the last minute. OK. Its true. Trainee are able to push the apply button on the last day.  But that doesn't necessarily mean that these trainees were not organised enough to be able to apply earlier. A rushed application is far more likely to lead to errors in your CV and how you address the selection criteria.

3 ways to stand out at medial recruitment interviews

  1. Prepare. Do as much research ahead of time, so you can control your anxiety on the day. If possible, find out who will be on the panel so you can learn their names ahead of time.
  2. Practice. If you practice you can often predict some of the questions that will be used. Practice how you might answer these. Think of examples that you can use to back up your assertion.
  3. Thank the panel for their time and if you can, send an email to the Chair of the panel a couple of days later to back it up. Politeness can go a long way.

These are just a few ways that you can think about improving your performance in the selection process.

For many more tips and advice please visit our Blog and we'd love to see you at our Career workshops (Brisbane on 9 June 2018, and Sydney on 16 June 2018). Trainees who are interested should get in fast as there are limited tickets on offer.

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Anthony Llewellyn

Anthony Llewellyn

FRANZCP, MHA, GAICD | Medical HR Expert and Coach. Anthony is an experienced health public sector executive, medical educationalist and coach. Anthony is an expert in Medical HR. He has reviewed numerous CVs, chaired and conducted over a thousand job interviews and provided advice to a number of employers and Colleges about selection processes. Anthony's background: Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Manager with 20 years’ experience as a medical practitioner in public health services in a range of roles. From 2012 to 2016, Anthony was the Medical Director of the Health Education & Training Institute (HETI), involved in overseeing a number of network training programs. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle’s School of Medicine & Public Health, and Year 5 Psychiatry Coordinator. He is currently completing a PhD in Medical Education, exploring personal learning environments in the intern training space. Anthony recently delivered for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians a Best Practice Guide for Trainee Selection into Employment Roles Anthony was born on Mouheneenner land in Hobart (Tasmania) and pays respect to the traditional owners of lands he lives and works on, and elders past and present. His two most important roles in life are proud husband and proud father of two boys.

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